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AU in the Neighborhood Newsletter

June 2010 AU in the Neighborhood

June 2010

Bringing our students back on campus


Classes may not be in full swing during June, but American University is still vibrant with activity. The university is making strides with its 2011 Campus Plan that will define our development for the next decade, as you will read below. We also have been supporting events and activities at neighborhood schools and parks.  With so much in bloom now, it is an especially nice time to walk on campus, tour our beautiful new School of International Service, or find a quiet spot to sit and read. You also can enjoy the exhibits at the AU Museum, join us for a movie night at the Newseum, or take a downtown walking tour around Ford's Theatre. And we are delighted that our Farmers' market, that is so popular with neighbors, will stay on the quad this summer with extended hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m on Wednesdays.  We hope you will spend some time to enjoy the summer and the campus with us.    

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2011 Campus Plan Brings More Students Back On Campus

Proposal calls for housing to accommodate additional 1,000 to 1,500 beds by 2020

Students in front of Mary Graydon Center

Bringing more American University students back to campus is an overarching theme, as new details from the still-developing 2011 Campus Plan were recently shared with the campus and community.

The latest draft of the plan, unveiled at May's monthly community task force meeting, calls for the construction of high-quality on-campus student housing to accommodate an additional 1,000 to 1,500 beds during the next ten years. The plan focuses on building attractive student housing to meet AU's current and projected needs for the next decade, providing a stronger on-campus experience, while also incorporating aesthetically into our existing campus and community.

Highlights of the 2011 Campus Plan include:

  • East Campus (currently Nebraska parking lot) – a new quad of four, three-to-six-story residence halls, housing approximately 860 beds;
  • South Campus (directly south and adjacent to Letts-Anderson Pavilion) – a complex of three, six-story residence halls, housing approximately 670 beds;
  • Clark site (directly east and adjacent to Letts-Anderson Pavilion) – a complex of two residence halls, housing approximately 370 beds; and
  • Nebraska Hall expansion – housing an additional 120 beds.  

The new housing will help address current housing challenges – including de-tripling freshmen housing and bringing more students to live on campus – while meeting housing demands for the next decade. Currently, for example, some 300 AU students have been living in double rooms converted to triples; 200 students live in university-leased apartments; some 500 students live on the Tenley campus, almost a mile from main campus; and still others have been unable to obtain on-campus housing. The university's current housing design capacity accommodates 3,465 beds. The proposed additions to housing are designed to accommodate a maximum of 4,900 beds. 

AU recently completed a comprehensive Strategic Plan for the future, and the Campus Plan will support the university's larger strategic objectives. All proposed buildings also will be in accordance with the university's Green Building Policy, as construction will follow our commitment to using sustainable, green development principles.

AU, like all universities in the District of Columbia, is required to submit a new Campus Plan every ten years. The 2011 Campus Plan is essentially a facilities plan, which by law must cover any and all building that may take place during the next ten years, and must be approved by the DC Zoning Commission. The 2011 plan is being designed to provide facilities that match our commitment to being a university of distinction; make better use of the current campus land to build for the future; and employ green development strategies.

All materials regarding the development of the 2011 Campus Plan and from the task force meetings are available to the public on the Campus Plan Web site.  When completed, the plan will be submitted to the DC Zoning Commission, most likely sometime this fall. Following a thorough review and hearings by the Zoning Commission, the newly approved Campus Plan would go into effect next year.  

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A closer look at the 2011 Campus Plan’s student housing proposals

2011 Campus Plan Map

The latest draft of the 2011 Campus Plan seeks to bring more American University students back onto campus by offering attractive, high-quality housing that provides a stronger on-campus experience, while blending seamlessly into our existing campus and community. How might this look?   

Click on the links below to get a glimpse of where the proposed housing will be, what it might look like, and how many beds each site may accommodate.



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Take a Virtual Walking Tour of the AU Arboretum

View of amphitheater.

Lots of neighbors ask us about the AU Arboretum and gardens and what trees, shrubs, and perennials we have on campus.  Now you can take a virtual walking tour of the Arboretum on our Web site and get plant-related information on different areas of the campus, including the botanical names of specific trees and plants. Ann Kerwin, wife of President Neil Kerwin, introduces the tour, and our top-notch landscape and grounds team adds information and plant details for gardeners at 18 stops along the way, from the Katzen Arts Center and Kogod ellipse to the Roper pocket and the spiritual garden.  So sit back and with a few clicks you can enjoy a tour of the greenest university campus in the city.

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And Speaking of Green…

Renewable Choice Energy is the Colorado-based company supplying renewable energy credits to American University through the Langdon Wind Energy Center, the largest wind energy facility in North Dakota.

Renewable Choice Energy is the Colorado-based company supplying renewable energy credits to American University through the Langdon Wind Energy Center, the largest wind energy facility in North Dakota. (courtesy photo)

With a recent purchase of wind-generated renewable energy credits (RECs) equivalent to all of the university's 53 million kilowatt hours of annual electricity usage, American University now is the second largest school in the nation to purchase 100 percent green power. AU also ranks as the 12th largest purchaser of 100 percent green power in the nation, joining Fortune 500 companies and organizations such as The World Bank Group, Whole Foods Market, and The Tower Companies.




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AU and Ice Cream at May Fair

May Fair at Turtle Park

The Friendship Recreation Center in AU Park – better known as "Turtle Park" – was filled with fun and jam-packed with neighborhood families on a recent Saturday for the annual all-day spring May Fair to raise money to support year-round programs at the city recreation center.  From the moon bounce and pony rides to the dunk tank, food and silent auction, the event was a record-breaking fundraising success that raised more than $25,000.  AU participated as one of the sponsors of May Fair, with AU staff manning the very popular ice cream stand.  Alexis Gentile Comrack, who co-chaired May Fair with her husband Chris, said, "Everyone agreed it was really great that AU participated. It helped to enhance the 'community' feeling."





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Enjoy a Movie and Discussion at the Newseum

SOC Brian Williams and Nick Clooney at the Newseum's Reel Journalism

AU graduates David Gregory, moderator of NBC's Meet the Press, and Betsy Fischer, the news show's executive producer, will join Nick Clooney at the Newseum on Monday, June 14 at 7 p.m. for another REEL Journalism program.  Watch the film State of Play on the Newseum theatre's big screen in which a brash journalist (Russell Crowe) investigates the death of a young congressional staffer (Rachel McAdams) who is the mistress of an ambitious congressman (Ben Affleck). Afterwards, enjoy a discussion of the movie.  REEL Journalism is a co-production of AU's School of Communication and the Newseum.  Now in its sixth year, the film series brings together Washington newsmakers with films about journalism to explore the accuracy in depictions of journalists in films. Clooney is the Newseum and AU Journalist in Residence. Tickets are available to AU neighbors for $20 with the AU discount code 80050206 at



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Join us for a Ford’s Theater “History on Foot Walking Tour”

Alumni Breakfast

We welcome our neighbors to join AU alums on Saturday, June 19, at 9 a.m. for a private History on Foot Tour with Detective McDevitt from Ford's Theater, as he retraces sites and clues from the investigation into the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy. (On the night of April 14, 1865, the real Detective John McDevitt was on duty at the Washington Metropolitan Police Department when frantic witnesses rushed in with the news that President Lincoln had been shot at Ford's Theatre.) The walking tour will last about two hours and make at least eight stops, covering 1.4 miles from Ford's Theatre to the White House. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes.  Tickets are $10. And if you want to start earlier, join us for a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. at the Subway Restaurant at 901 E Street, N.W. To register, go to and click on Alumni at the top right-hand side. For more information, call Heather Buckner at 885-5902. .

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June Calendar of Events

No Sculpture

Check out the June Calendar of Events.








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